It All Hinges On Your Audience!

We kicked off our series, “Tools and Tactics to Grow Your Business,” with a little hINgeSIGHT, about audience analysis and how it can literally mean the difference between success and failure of a brand. Today we’re going to briefly identify what audience analysis is, discuss the importance of this simple, yet powerful tactic and offer a few basic questions you should be asking as you determine who your audience is, why they need your business, and how you can reach them.

What is Audience Analysis and why is it important?

Put simply, audience analysis is the process of determining the interests and preferences of your target audience as well as demographic information such as gender, age, language, culture, etc. The goal of audience analysis to understand who needs your product or service and what drives or will drive them to engage with your business. It’s also critical to determine where and how you can reach them, so they feel empowered and equipped to purchase or participate.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of audience analysis because your entire business, both internally and externally speaking, is shaped around who you’re trying to reach. From strategy development and goal setting, to product placement and advertising, your businesses hinges on the connection you make with your audience. Consequently, a connection is difficult to make if you don’t know anything about your consumer.

How do you find this information?

When it comes to analyzing your audience, you want to be sure you’re using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Google Analytics is a great (+ easy) tool to implement on your website, tracking user demographics, online behaviors and other valuable metrics to help you reach your marketing goals. Facebook also has built in metrics to track who is engaging with your business the most and allows you to target that audience through their ad program.  Other quantitative resources include Survey Monkey, FedStats, and the Pew Research Center.

You can also gain a lot of valuable insight from qualitative methods, like interviews and focus groups. Don’t be afraid to reach out to current or even past consumers and talk to them about what they like most about your brand, what they don’t like, how they heard about your business, etc. Also, it’s smart to talk to your greatest advocates and brand loyalists to hear the reasons they’ve chosen your product and service. Answers to questions like this can help you fix facets of your brand that might not be working, adjust strategies that aren’t yielding results, leverage key product or service features that you may be overlooking and determine how to focus your messaging and your efforts.

Here are some important questions to consider as you research your audience:

Who needs your product/service? Men? Women? Students? 40-50 year-olds? Asking yourself who benefits the most from your business is perhaps the most important question to answer, as it’s typically where additional questions stem from and critical insights are gained. Keep in mind, your research could lead to discoveries. For example, you may identify more than one target audience, in which case your messaging will adjust slightly depending on who your talking to and when.

Where is your audience? Are they students living on campus? Retired seniors that frequent a retirement center? Your audience’s location and habits dictate where you put your messaging, what media is available to them, and what kind of regional or situational messaging you might be able to utilize.

How does your audience consume information? Do they learn about products and services online? In print? From friends?  Answering this question will help you direct your marketing efforts (and dollars) to the sources that your audience values most and where they are most likely to see your brand.

What does your audience value?  Discovering psychographic information like attitudes, values and beliefs will help you determine what’s important to your audience and what’s important to them should be important to you! This type of information is a critical factor when it comes to marketing because psychographics greatly influence our decisions and behaviors.

Of course, there are additional questions should consider, but these questions are a great starting point when researching your target audience.  It’s important to remember that audience analysis is an ongoing process that looks different from business to business. No matter how you accomplish it, the most important thing is that you are strategic about who you’re targeting and how.  Remember to listen to your audience. The most successful brands listen to their audience and make adjustments to ensure they continually fulfill their needs and keep them engaged in their business. 

Over the next month and a half, stay tuned for additional tools and tactics that will help you grow your business!